As you know if you’ve been reading our blog or have been talking to members of our team, The DBL Center has achieved several milestone growth markers in 2018. In addition to our new offices and achieving the milestone this summer of writing 1 million lives, and servicing and insuring 32,000 corporations annually.
Are you an insurance broker ready to grow your business? Before you start doubling or tripling your sales figures, it’s important to consider how you will manage high volume business.
Managing a handful of companies under 50 lives is not the same as servicing thousands of corporations with 1,000+ employees each.
Your marketing, customer education tools, management software, and your employees all need to be ready for the change. DBL Center can help.
Let’s look at the five elements you’ll need in place as part of your growth plan.
1. Consider your customer retention.
Before you can expand, you have to ensure you are keeping the customers you have – large and small. If you start losing customers, you are just trading one account for another and not really growing. It costs more in time and money to gain and onboard new clients than it does to maintain existing customers, so focus on retention as the first stage of your growth plan.
2. Set tangible goals and put a plan in place to achieve them.
As business expert Zig Ziglar says, “A goal carefully planned is halfway reached.” Perform a business analysis and determine where you want to be in six months, a year, and maybe even three years. DBL Center recently started offering incentives for writing new DBL business with us. Setting a goal to qualify for these incentives could be a good place to start.
3. Emphasize customer education.
Our PFL resource center helps set us apart, contributing to our inbound marketing efforts in 2018. We also introduced webinars about PFL and NRT, giving our brokers the tools and information they need to educate their customers. These efforts, combined with a solid marketing plan, tangible goals, and hiring employees specializing in the areas we aimed to grow, all led to a highly successful year for DBL Center.
4. Make sure you have the support you need.
Consider your CRM, bookkeeping, and sales software to ensure you can handle the volume. The Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) powered by DBL Center may be able to help you track renewals, commissions, and revenue, making it easier to retain customers and also see how close you are to achieving the goals you set.
You also want employees in place who can manage high-volume, high-pressure accounts.
Having an insurance wholesaler like DBL Center in your corner to provide white-glove, white-label service can help when you are ready to pursue the next stage of growth.
5. Keep your eyes on the pulse of the industry to be in the right place at the right time.
Back in 2012, Zurich Insurance Company left the New York State DBL market. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, wreaking havoc on the insurance industry and leaving P&C brokers scrambling to cover losses totaling $19 billion.
Knowing there was an industry shake-up coming due to the Affordable Care Act, even before Sandy, The DBL Center under the leadership of David Cohen was set to make a move.
The DBL Center began promoting enriched DBL coverage in New York, opening a gateway to greater profits for our brokers.
In 2017, DBL Center was on the forefront of reporting on the introduction of Paid Family Leave in New York. As part of our strategic marketing initiatives, we provided brokers with the resources they needed to explain the benefit to their customers. We also gave them access to the carriers who were able to write the PFL rider and incentives for moving their business.
As PFL announces its next increase, to go into effect in January 2019, we will be there to guide brokers.
Meanwhile, we continue to watch the industry and see what may be on the horizon, constantly innovating new ways to help our brokers.
For instance, our NRT app fills a unique need for brokers who provide DBL, PFL, TDB, and other employee benefits.
If you are looking to grow your business, manually tracking accounts or using siloed software that doesn’t meet all your needs will no longer work.
As we step into the future with advanced technology and new profit opportunities, we are excited to help our brokers who want to join us.
Are you ready to grow with us?
by Dawn Allcot
The DBL Center held some in house celebrations last week as we settled into our new Melville, Long Island office. But it’s not just our employees who benefit from our continued growth.
Thanks to the industry relationships we have fostered over the past 40 years as a wholesale general agency, we are in a position to offer brokers industry-high base commissions as well as bonuses for consolidating their book of business with DBL Center.
When you consolidate your book of business with DBL Center through select carriers, you’ll receive a 22.5% base commission, and a one-time bonus based on the dollar value of the new business.
When you move between $20,000 and $99,999, you’ll earn a 5% bonus on all new business. Earn a 10% one-time bonus if your book, including DBL policies under and over 50 lives, is between $100,000 and $149,000.
DBL Center is making it easy for you to move your book of business. Simply reach out to us for a spreadsheet detailing the information we need from you to help your customers make the switch. There is no need to fill out a new application for each case. Once the new policies are issued, you can cancel the existing in-force policies, save your customers money, and cash in on bonuses and generous commissions.
Earn More with PFL
These broker incentives are a direct result of the introduction of PFL, a mandatory benefit written as a rider to DBL coverage in NY.
Not every carrier is writing PFL riders, so you may be in the process of helping your customers switch carriers. By letting DBL Center shop around for DBL policies for both under and over 50 lives, you may earn better commissions on PFL. DBL Center rewards you for a business move you may have to make, anyway.
PFL has had a huge learning curve for everyone, and our brokers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and knowledge they provide to their customers. Together with our carrier partners, we are helping PFL pay off for our brokers.
Why It Pays to Consolidate Your Book of Business
If you aren’t using DBL Center for DBL over and under 50 lives, you could be missing out on high commissions, bonuses, white-glove service, and the convenience of using one wholesale general agency for your whole book of statutory business. Having one point of contact, a professional you can trust if you have questions or need personalized service, is always easier. As DBL Center continues to grow, we can offer even more to our loyal brokers.
This fall, we will introduce our new broker dashboard, making it even easier for you to track all your DBL business and revenue from one intuitive app.
The DBL Center team keeps working hard to offer our brokers more and to make it easy to do business with us.
With our new broker incentives package, there was never a better time to trust us to write your disability policies, ancillary benefits packages, and more.
Let us know how DBL Center can serve you today.
The DBL Center held a summer celebration at Prime in Huntington on the Long Island Sound.
The team, led by Michael Cohen, has plenty to celebrate in 2018. We have a new office in Melville and we’re getting set for the launch of our Broker Dashboard this fall, followed by the introduction of our Net Revenue Tracker (NRT) software.
We’d like to take this chance to give you a peek into life at DBL Center.
You’ll get to know us a little bit better. And maybe understand exactly how – and why – white-glove service is a core part of our company mission and how important our brokers are to us.
The DBL Center has always been a family-owned company. And our employees are a lot like family, too.
With this in mind, picture your most boisterous family meal, and you could imagine our lunch at Prime.
There was lots of great food, many laughs, and great stories from great storytellers. (We have many in the DBL extended family). As the conversation meandered to family traditions, there were strong reminders of where we came from and some talk of where we are going.
Our new office at 155 Pinelawn Road in Melville, a few miles south of our prior location and near prestigious Long Island companies like Newsday and Estee Lauder, gives The DBL Center more space and more amenities. With room to grow within our suite, the office boasts an open floor plan that allows our team to work more closely in alignment. We are all here to help each other.
On a summer Friday afternoon, the office spaces are filled with laughter. The atmosphere makes us more eager to work and happy to provide our brokers with the service they expect. Productivity, creativity, and idea-sharing are all enhanced as DBL Center prepares to enter its next stage of growth.
In the doorway of the office suite to greet visitors and employees is an original drawn portrait of founder David Cohen by local artist and family friend John D. Herz, who David often called, “the Michelangelo of the #2 pencil.” The image reminds us, daily, of why it’s so important to continue living up to our founder’s vision of white-glove service.
Of course, the new office space boasts all the expected amenities. New, ergonomic office chairs were specially chosen for our employees’ comfort and enhanced productivity. In addition to the large conference table in the common area, there is a conference space in president Michael Cohen’s office, where he records our popular webinar series that covers topics like Paid Family Leave, and a screen to show WebEx demos of our new NRT software to brokers.
As DBL Center continues to expand in every way, we have more resources to serve our brokers better, faster, and with the level of attention you expect and deserve. Our webinars and website are just a few examples of how we’ve evolved for the better in the past few years, and our new office is the next step in that evolution.
As our sales volume increases, it puts us in an even better position to negotiate with carriers to secure the best deals for our brokers.
Yet, DBL Center will never forget our roots and will never neglect the personalized service we have offered for more than 40 years. We may grow larger, with nicer offices and more personnel, but we won’t ever become a “big box” insurance wholesaler.
We maintain true to David Cohen’s vision of a “boutique” insurance agency dedicated to serving our brokers, even as we leverage today’s technology to do so in new and more effective ways.
Drop us a line and let us know how we can serve you today.
As an insurance agent, you understand the intricacies of the employee benefits you sell, including maternity leave benefits available through Paid Family Leave (PFL) in New York. You can show customers how to file a DBL or PFL claim, tell them when their disability leave benefits will kick in, and how much money they are eligible to receive.
When you don’t know the answer, The DBL Center Ltd is just a phone call, email, or text away.
We sell employee benefits packages to the decision-makers, but employees don’t always receive the information they need to make important life decisions. For instance, maternity leave benefits may be a deciding factor in how soon a parent returns to the workplace, or even whether a couple can afford to have a child or not.
As an industry, we have an obligation to ensure that information on PFL and other benefits is being passed on to our customers – the company executives, HR departments, and the employees we serve.
An eye-opening article in Glamour magazine shares a “worst-case scenario” of what can happen when an employee doesn’t understand their maternity leave benefits.
Like any employee would do, the writer of the article spoke to her boss regarding her maternity leave benefits. She found out that she was eligible to receive 60 percent of her salary through her company’s short-term disability insurance plan. (The writer lived in Florida, so DBL was not a “given” as it is here in New York.)
She also learned she was entitled to 12 weeks off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects employees’ jobs while they are out on leave after having a baby or to care for a sick, aging, or disabled family member.
However, the writer never thought to ask (and her employer didn’t volunteer the information) if her insurance paid for a 12-week leave. When she realized it didn’t, it was too late. The couple’s savings had run out. She began freelancing when her son was only four weeks old to supplement her husband’s income and make the money her family needed to live.
The story resonated strongly with us here at The DBL Center, as a family-friendly company with many employees who are also parents. It underscored the importance of educating not just brokers, but the employers and employees who use PFL benefits.
As a broker, you can (and should) take steps to educate your customers on maternity leave / PFL and other employee benefits. You’ll become a trusted resource, and the company they turn to when they want advice on other insurance-related topics.
If you aren’t already being proactive about educating your customers about paid family leave, here are some steps you can take.
There is nothing like making yourself available to your customers, in person, to answer their questions and explain their employee benefits packages. Set aside an hour of time to host a live seminar with the HR department and any employees who would like to hear about their options for employee benefits.
You can also reach out to your customers without ever leaving your office. Host a webinar detailing the new PFL benefits, as well as any other ancillary benefits your customers receive.
Invest in low-cost, cloud-based software like Zoom or GoToMeeting to host webinars for up to 100 people. Or your organization may already have videoconferencing and webinar software already in place. Most of these programs are easy to set up and simple to use.
Hosting a webinar makes it easy to accommodate the schedules of multiple employees and eliminates travel time and expenses. You may even be able to provide recordings of the webinar, afterwards, for employees who could not attend.
A personalized touch, either through live meetings or webinars, is often best to connect with your customers and upsell enriched DBL or ancillary benefits.
But you can make the information your customers need available to them when they need it by launching a resource center or blog on your website. Providing written information explaining the differences between PFL and FMLA and the extent of PFL benefits will help establish your insurance agency as a trusted resource.
You can even get creative and produce videos that you post on your website as well as on YouTube and Vimeo.
Not only do these articles and videos deliver the information your customers need when it’s convenient for them. It can also give your search engine rankings a boost, making it easier for people in your area to find you when they do a Google search for an insurance agency.
When it comes to marketing, it’s a win-win.
PFL is so important on so many levels, and it is crucial for employers and employees to understand the benefits. It is the responsibility of brokers to educate their customers, and the Glamour article details what can happen if insurance brokers don’t take a proactive stance. Employees don’t necessarily know the right questions to ask to make the right decisions for their financial future.
Fortunately, what is good for employee retention and for working families is also good for your bottom line. And customer education in the digital age is easier than ever.
If you can be the resource your customers need, your business will continue to grow through the sale of enriched benefits packages and word-of-mouth referrals.
Corporate Synergies is a full-service insurance brokerage, providing health, ancillary benefits, P&C coverage, and DBL / PFL for companies with as many as 10,000 employees.
“We have about 600 customers total and we have office in Melville, Long Island; New York City, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida,” says Peter Tonna, vice president and benefits consultant for Corporate Synergies. “We primarily operate in the middle market, serving businesses with 50 to 1,000 employees, but we also have customers with 5,000 to 10,000 employees, especially in the fields of not for profits, education, and financial services.”
Digging Deep into Practical Matters Concerning PFL
Experts in the field of health and ancillary benefits, as well as DBL, Corporate Synergies has relied on DBL Center’s knowledge and expertise when it came to navigating the often-muddy waters of New York State’s new PFL coverage. “The DBL Center has come to us many times with educational materials to help us understand the new law and how it’s implemented. If I have questions, I can pick up the phone and Mike [DBL Center President Michael Cohen] will explain it,” says Tonna.
“It’s one thing to talk about PFL in broad strokes, but when you get into the weeds, talking about a specific situation or a real-life experience, Mike has helped explain the differences and overlap between PFL and FMLA in ways we can convey to our customers,” he continues. “Most importantly, DBL Center gives us ways to make sure that knowledge and insight is communicated to the employees and HR directors.”
Analyzing Ancillary Benefits
Corporate Synergies also leverages DBL Center’s relationships with carriers to get the best rates by bundling DBL and ancillary benefits. “We promote dental and group life as the power players for ancillary benefits,” Tonna says. “Voluntary group life is typically low cost, and employees many not have to go through medical underwriting, which saves time and hassles.”
Corporate Synergies and DBL Center: A Mutual Focus on Service
With a new website focused on educating customers about the ever-changing landscape of employee benefits, Corporate Synergies shares DBL Center’s philosophy of providing exemplary service and consultative selling to drive repeat business and referrals.
With offices just minutes away from each other in Melville, The DBL Center and Corporate Synergies have maintained a relationship any business owner dreams of. The DBL Center is more than just a wholesaler for Corporate Synergies, but a trusted partner, sharing advice and referrals.
“The whole DBL team is local, knowledgeable and experienced,” Tonna says. “And that translates into increased value for my customers. My customers are the most important thing in my world, and I want to make sure they are educated and informed. DBL Center has been a great resource to help us cut through the fog and confusion surrounding DBL and PFL in New York.”
Brokers: Is Your Insurance Firm Ready to Be Next?
Are you enjoying our Broker Spotlight series? Reach out and let us know!
If you have a unique and interesting story to tell about your relationship with DBL Center or how we have helped you grow your business, contact us now to be featured as our next “Broker Spotlight.”
Did you know 85% of business owners buy TDB in NJ (temporary disability benefits) through the state?
If private TDB coverage is so much better, why aren’t more business owners and HR directors switching?
Most New Jersey business owners simply don’t know there’s a better way.
That’s where DBL Center brokers come in.
You can gain your customers’ trust, increase business referrals, and earn commission on a mandatory insurance product by showing your customers the benefits of private TDB coverage.
1. Employees enjoy faster payouts with private TDB.
When your customers make a TDB claim through a private carrier, they can start receiving a check in as little as 7 days. Employees who make claims through the state insurance fund might wait months for their first check.
In addition, employees can choose to receive a debit card or check and even determine the schedule of their disability income, so they can stick to the budget they’ve established when they were working.
2. Get your questions answered faster with extended service hours.
Have a question about a NJ TDB claim after normal office hours? The Department of Labor Temporary Disability Insurance call center is only open from 8 am to 5:30 pm, Monday and Tuesday, and from 8:30 to 4:30 Wednesday through Friday.
Most insurance carriers have extended hours, and many even offer the ability to check claim status online 24/7. Plus, DBL Center brokers will be able to reach out to the DBL Center directly, 24/7, through the broker dashboard once it is launched this fall. There is no reason for anyone to stay awake wondering about the status of their disability claim.
3. Work with carriers who care.
We’ve all done business with state and federal agencies. The DMV. The state IRS. The post office. There is a reason Amazon uses its own delivery company. Government services typically involve a lower quality of service, slower response time, and lots of red tape.
When you work with top carriers to buy private TDB coverage, you can deliver a higher level of service than your customers would receive anywhere else.
You’ll gain access to the DBL Center’s back office staff to answer your customers’ questions, help process claims, and ensure your customers are getting the best rates.
4. Lock in low rates.
Will the state of New Jersey increase TDB rates? Every November, the insurance industry plays a guessing game before the NJSIF announces its rates for the coming year. If rates go up, you’ll be scrambling to write your customers’ policies with private carriers for more competitive pricing.
Why not beat the rush and help them switch to a private carrier now? You may even be able to lock in low rates for two to three years.
You can only switch to privatize TDB coverage on the first day of every quarter. Now is the time to start thinking about helping your customers make the switch on October 1.
5. Save money by bundling TDB with ancillary benefits.
From small businesses to large corporations, most companies want to save money. Even if the NJSIF premiums remain the same next year, your customers could still save money with private TDB coverage.
Most TDB carriers also provide voluntary ancillary benefits packages, including vision, dental, and group life coverage.
That’s something your customers won’t find with the state insurance fund. And if you bundle ancillary benefits with a TDB package, your clients can save money all around, while providing employees with an enticing benefits package that may help retention rates in their company.
Let The DBL Center Help Your Customers Switch
Making the switch to private TDB coverage isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
When you work with DBL Center, we will shop around for you to find the best terms and service for your customers. Once you’ve made the sale, The DBL Center will provide your customers with the paperwork they need, walk you both through the process, and make sure the switch to private TDB coverage happens seamlessly. Your customers will feel good about the money they saved and the service they are receiving.
Learn more about how New Jersey insurance brokers are using private TDB coverage to increase their bottom line. Then reach out to your friends at The DBL Center to get started.
More than 1.5 million non profit organizations are registered in the U.S., says the National Center for Charitable statistics. And they all need nonprofit insurance coverage.
With 20.3 million people living in the New York Tri-State area, it’s safe to say a proportionate number of those non profits are based right here. And, just like your small business and large corporate customers, they are looking for low premiums, high-quality insurance coverage, and stellar service from their non profit insurance brokers.
Non profit workers are traditionally paid less than their counterparts at for-profit companies. Owners of non profit organizations must tread carefully because they could face fines if the IRS deems their employees’ salaries “excessive.” Not only do nonprofits have less money to pay out—because their funding comes from supporter donations—but employers opt to err on the side of caution with employee salaries.
In order to find the best people to help them achieve their mission, non profits must look at other ways to attract and retain top employees. And that’s where insurance for non profit organizations comes in, especially when you are talking about enriched DBL and ancillary benefits. Most non profits have smaller operating budgets than corporations, including less money to pay out for employer-funded benefits like healthcare. But voluntary, employee-funded benefits like group life, vision, and dental coverage deliver great value at a low cost to employees.
Non profits go beyond foundations and mission-specific charitable organizations. They may include hospitals and universities, and other important business-oriented organizations with large teams and hefty operating costs.
Not only can non profits be a valuable sector by themselves, but selling not for profit insurance can also attract local business leads and new clients when your non profit customers spread the word to their members and volunteers about the service you deliver. Local networking groups such as your Chamber of Commerce, Lions’ Clubs, and Kiwanis are all non profit organizations.
Are you ready to start selling insurance for non profit organizations?
To successfully sell not for profit insurance benefits, you need to understand what motivates the employees. Value-driven millennials often seek work with non profit organizations, because they want a career that makes a difference in the world along with providing a paycheck.
Employees are often willing to accept less pay because the intrinsic benefits of the job win out in the end. But, once reality sets in and the rent comes due, top talent may quickly be recruited away with promises of a hefty salary, ancillary benefits, and exciting perks in the corporate world.
A non profit may not be able to match a Fortune 500 in terms of pay. But non profit insurance brokers can offer something equal in intrinsic value and help organizations recruit and retain top talent by following these four steps.
Any good salesperson knows how it important it is to understand your audience. And the non profit group tends to be passionate about their beliefs. If you are working with an animal rights organization, for instance, mention your family pets you adopted from a rescue.
If you are working with an organization that supports eco-tourism,, and can off-handedly mention your Prius, they will understand you are aligned with their values. They will also love the efficiency of getting nonprofit insurance quotes online, without the hassles of paperwork.
Once you’ve made that personal connection, how do you make the leap to insurance products? By tapping into what’s important to non profit employees, you can show them the employee benefits that will help enhance their lifestyle by saving them money.
Millennials — especially those who choose to work for non profits—treasure a work/life balance and want to make a difference at work and at play. Saving money on dental and vision costs may free up cash so they can travel more, for instance, or adopt another pet from the animal rescue.
A good life insurance policy will provide peace of mind to employees starting a family. And a 401K will give them the financial freedom they need to continue supporting their favorite causes, through donations or volunteerism, into their retirement.
Recruiting and retention is a major challenge for executives in the non profit sector. Smaller organizations may not have an HR director who understands the specifics of employee benefits packages, how they are structured, or what’s available.
They need a non profit insurance broker they can trust to explain how ancillary benefits can be bundled with mandatory coverage for maximum savings, and how these benefits can be used as important recruiting and retention tools to keep top talent.
Don’t assume anyone in the organization understands the value of employee benefits. Hold a lunch-and-learn seminar, make information available on your website, let employers and their employees, alike, know you are available for questions.
Bottom line: Making insurance for non profit organizations part of your book of business involves a large amount consultative selling. Make sure prospective clients understand that these are employee-funded, voluntary benefits that cost very little compared to the money they will save over their lives.
ComTon Inc. in Fairport, NY, specializes in Employee Benefits insurance for organizations with over 200 lives. Serving upstate and western New York, from Rhinebeck to Lake Placid and across the state to Buffalo and Rochester, ComTon has been in business since 1998. “Most of our business is through word-of-mouth and referrals,” says ComTon Principal Gregory D. Singleton.
“One of our biggest compliments is when we have an HR director or a finance person who leaves an organization we’ve worked with and moves to another organization and immediately brings us in,” adds Principal Rob Commisso.
ComTon has carved out a successful niche working with large organizations to provide employee benefits, including DBL / PFL, group life, health insurance, dental insurance, workers’ compensation, short-term and long-term disability, and other voluntary benefits. Unlike many brokers, ComTon offers packages for self-insured businesses and is certified by the state of New York as a third-party administrator of workers’ compensation and DBL / PFL benefits.
As an administrator for self-insured DBL policies, ComTon faced an unusual challenge when PFL was first introduced in the beginning of 2018. “Some of our self-insured clients weren’t necessarily comfortable with the unknown costs of PFL, so they wanted to pursue fully insured options,” recalls Commisso.
That’s when ComTon realized the true benefits of working with The DBL Center as their white-glove, white-label insurance wholesaler. “DBL Center provided us with a lot of help so we could offer our clients options for a fully insured program,” says Singleton. “Because DBL Center has such a big book of business and great relationships with the existing carriers, they were able to get us very good rates for our clients who wanted to move to a different carrier or to go from self-insured to fully insured.”
Singleton reveals that ComTon provided quotes for all their existing clients to transition to fully insured benefits, so that their customers could choose the best path for their situation. The DBL Center expedited the process, shopping around for the best rates.
ComTon clients who decided to switch to a fully insured program reaped the rewards of low rates as well as fast claim payments and the stellar service that ComTon has been known to provide to its self-insured clients for two decades. The DBL Center made it easy for ComTon to quote rates from a variety of carriers, write the policies, and deliver excellent service through top-name carriers capable of writing DBL policies with the PFL rider.
“DBL Center streamlined our quoting process for our DBL prospects and existing clients considering fully insured options,” says Singleton.
“But what it really came down to is the cost,” adds Commisso. “DBL Center was able to help us get better rates than we may have been able to do on our own, with a variety of carriers.”
He continues, “The whole team has been wonderful to work with, very responsive to our questions and our needs, and helpful in offering solutions or ideas we may not have thought of. The DBL Center team is very good about explaining the capabilities of one insurance carrier over another, and of helping us market the benefits of various carriers to our clientele.”
Singleton adds, “I thought we had a great knowledge of DBL coverage here at ComTon, and the DBL Center’s knowledge is as good—if not better—than ours.”
Although Meeker Sharkey & Hurley has been in the insurance business since 1864, the full-service broker is one of the newest in The DBL Center family. The company is already realizing the advantages of buying state-mandated TDB through DBL Center’s vast network of private carriers.
“The DBL Center knows the statutory market. That’s their specific field,” says Richard Ambrose, Meeker Sharkey & Hurley Senior Vice President-Practice Leader, Employee Benefits. “While we could go to the carriers ourselves, The DBL Center is more tuned in to the TDB market. They can be more aggressive in the pricing because they have such a large block of business with the statutory companies, and that helps us.”
Since New Jersey’s TDB coverage pays a living wage to employees on short-term disability or maternity leave, there is less reason to enrich policies the way New York brokers do for businesses in their state. New Jersey pays a maximum of $637 per week for employees, with affordable premiums. “In New Jersey, more than 85 percent of the employers write TDB through the New Jersey State Insurance Fund (NJSIF),” says Ambrose.
Yet, he views this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. “Most employers don’t know they can switch, and the state, by design, makes it difficult to switch,” he explains.
Employers must get signatures from 50 percent of their NJ employees explaining the change before they can switch, and they can only make the jump from the state on the first day of any quarter. But once employers do make the jump, they enjoy better service, faster payouts, and more flexibility.
The DBL Center simplifies the process and helps Meeker Sharkey customers switch to a private carrier by shopping around for the best rates, sometimes getting those rates locked in for two to three years, and then helping with the paperwork to switch from NJSIF.
“With a private carrier, our customers get a dedicated account manager, as well as people from my firm who can help them, people from the DBL Center who can help them, and service by phone even after 4 o’clock in the afternoon—which you won’t find with the state,” says Ambrose.
In addition, claimants can receive their first check in less than one week, with flexible pay periods so they can maintain the budget and lifestyle they had prior to filing for disability coverage. “I’ve heard of people not getting their first check from the state until after they’ve gone back to work,” says Ambrose. “We tell our clients that if we can get them the same rate as the state, they should make the jump because they will appreciate the better service. And The DBL Center helps make it easier to find an equal or lower rate.”
In addition to writing Temporary Disability Benefits for New Jersey customers through The DBL Center’s large network of carriers, Meeker Sharkey also focuses heavily on ancillary benefits, including vision, dental, life, and long-term disability. Often, The DBL Center can find the best rates by bundling these important ancillary benefits with a statutory TDB policy.
Ambrose reveals a great deal of Meeker Sharkey & Hurley’s revenue comes from employee health and ancillary benefits for businesses with over 50 lives. “We have a hospital client with 2,000 lives, but the majority of our revenue are clients with 50 covered employees up to about 400. We have quite a few financial institutions, manufacturing firms, and not-for-profits.”
Ambrose notes employers in these fields are always looking to entice employees and benefits packages are an important part of those recruiting tactics. “DBL Center is very aggressive with customer education, and that’s important when we’re selling ancillary lines. Michael Cohen and his team are very tapped into what’s happening in the industry, whether we are talking about Paid Family Leave in New York, TDB, or ancillary benefits,” says Ambrose.
“They are also very proactive with follow ups, and responsive to our needs,” he says. “I’d been talking to Mike for at least a year before we signed on with The DBL Center and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
If you are a broker who sells ancillary benefits such as life, dental, and vision coverage, you are already familiar with the paperwork required to complete a company census. Your customers have to submit a company census showing the number of employees, their ages, genders, and salaries.
Now, with the introduction of Paid Family Leave, some insurance carriers may require a company census for their DBL insurance, too.
Even if it isn’t required by your carrier, having an accurate and up-to-date census can benefit brokers and their customers, alike, resulting in money savings for customers and increased opportunities for brokers to cross-sell ancillary benefits with DBL coverage. Read on to find out how.
With a census in hand, business owners will receive more accurate insurance rates that are based on the exact head count of covered employees. They won’t overpay for their insurance coverage, which can enable the company to better manage cash flow without tying up funds needlessly.
And if you have to break the bad news that their insurance premiums will go up slightly, at least your commission will rise proportionately. They will now be paying for the actual coverage they are receiving, which is difficult for any business person to argue.
With a company census for each one of your customers in hand, it is easy to request a quote for ancillary coverage through the DBL Center. In order to accurately quote ancillary coverage, you need the census. Now that your customers have that information, you can show them how affordable it can be to sweeten their employee benefits package with group life, vision, or dental coverage.
If you’ve already shown your customers you can save them money on their DBL and PFL, now you can show them how to take that extra money and invest it into ancillary policies that will make all their employees happy, build loyalty, and help attract top talent.
For small business owners, completing a census shouldn’t take much time at all. They can delegate the task to an office manager or set aside a few hours to gather the information from their employees. It could even be as fast as sending out a company-wide email.
For larger corporations with more than 50 lives, and even up to thousands of employees, gathering census data will, admittedly, take more time. But the cost savings could really add up for larger companies.
Once the census data is in place, it doesn’t take long to update it, annually, with new employees and to remove employees who no longer work for the company.
“It makes sense to calculate accurate insurance premiums based on the actual number of lives in a company and can result in cost savings for customers,” says DBL Center’s Selena Kutschera. “It also makes it easier for brokers to get an accurate quote in order to enrich their customers’ benefits packages with ancillary benefits.”
Pinpoint a few customers, especially corporations over 50 lives, who would benefit the most from a census and be most amenable to ancillary benefits if it was fast and easy to get a price quote. If carriers begin requiring a census for DBL coverage with a PFL rider, these customers will have the information in hand.
“Filling out census forms for more accurate insurance billing is new and unfamiliar to many brokers,” says Kutschera. “But the DBL Center is here to help our brokers and their customers complete a company census. It’s also important to remember that this a one-time-only process that will allow the carrier to better serve brokers and their customers.”